BBC micro:bit dev board

Last year BBC introduced Micro:bit development board  Intended to allow children to get creative with technology. The Micro:bit is one of the cornerstones of the BBC’s “Make it Digital” campaign. With Micro:bit BBC tries to get a million preteens into embedded development world as Micro:bit will be given to every 11 or 12 year old child across the UK, for free. BBC micro:bit is aimed for all sorts of cool creations, from robots to musical instruments.

There are already a lot of low-cost, small-sized developing card, like Arduino, Raspberry Pi, ESP8266 NodeMCU, CodeBug .. and many other Dev Boards. So why does the world need another new educational development board?

In some way you could compare the idea to famous Raspberry Pi board, but this Micro:bit is aimed to be cheaper and even easier to program. Where Raspberry Pi is a full computer, Micro:bit could be more compared to an Arduino board or IoT device with limited resources but with built-in features like LED display and sensors. The technical specifications for the board will also be open-sourced, and a not-for-profit company will oversee future development. There is a large number of product partners, web site with on-line development tools, the board is distributed to million preteens and $19 Micro:bit computer is now available also as commercial product.Product partners in technology include:  ARM (mbed hardware, software development kits),  Microsoft (TouchDevelop web-based programming tools), Nordic Semiconductor (main processor and enabled Bluetooth Smart) and Samsung (connecting to phones and tablets with the Android app). So it seems that it has already found it’s path on the crowded dev board market.

Micro:bit board is based around an ARM Cortex M0 processor and features a programmable array of 25 red LEDs, two programmable buttons and a built-in accelerometer and magnetometer. It is designed to be powered with two AA batteries or though USB. Here is picture of 50x40mm Micro:bit board from Micro:bit web site:

BBC Micro Bit specifications

  • Size: approx. 5cm x 4cm
  • Weight: 8g
  • Processor: 32-bit ARM Cortex M0 CPU
  • Bluetooth Low Energy
  • Digital Compass
  • Accelerometer
  • Micro-USB controller
  • 5×5 LED matrix with 25 red LEDs
  • 2 programmable buttons
  • Powered by 2x AAA batteries

For connections on the bottom of the board in the picture are five rings which work with crocodile clips or 4mm banana plugs. Those can be used to attach more sensors including thermometers, moisture sensors, proximity sensors and more. The entire edge of the Micro Bit is a ‘standard’ edge connector and it can be used also for output signals: 23-pin edge connector with two or three PWM outputs, six to 17 GPIO pins (depending on configuration), six analog inputs, serial I/O, SPI, and I²C.

More detailed hardware description from Wikipedia:

What is the price? For school kids the price is £0, and for everyone else £15.The BBC Micro Bit is now available to pre-order from distributors including Kitronik, Pimoroni, Science Scope, Tech Will Save Us and The Pi Hut. The first paid-for micro:bits will ship in July 2016.


How do you program the BBC Micro Bit?

Kids will be able to program the Micro Bit via a web-based editing environment.The available languaghes are JavaScript, Python (MicroPython), C++, Blocks (a visual programming language) and Microsoft’s Touch Develop language (visual + code). There is on-line web based editing enviroment that runs on PC, tablet and smartphone. Once a program is finished it can be saved and sent to a server which compiles the program into the code the Micro Bit can understand.The Micro Bit was created using the ARM mbed development kits and the mbed cloud compiler service. The development environments are all accessible through the micro:bit website, on which no login is required for writing code.

The Micro Bit can act like a USB flash drive when connected to a PC, so programs can be dragged and dropped onto it. Or compiled program can be transferred wirelessly via Bluetooth to the Micro Bit

On clicking the “Create code” button you are presented with a choice of four, Code Kingdoms JavaScript, Microsoft Block Editor, Microsoft Touch Develop, and Python. For exmaple this Blocks aditor provides you Micro:bit emulator that allows you to test your code without real hardware:


JavaScript also has visual look and Micro:bit emulator in it:


What to do with this board? Your imagination is the limit. Example projects:

For example one  School launches BBC micro:bit into space!


  1. Tomi Engdahl says:

    BBC micro:bit product review

    While almost all of the electronic distributors, hobbyist sites, and online electronic shops have the BBC micro:bit available for pre-order (officially available starting next July), thanks to element14, we had the opportunity to test, play with, and enjoy one of these boards for ourselves.

    The BBC Foundation has already distributed more than 750,000 units for free to English schools for children seven years and older, and a meaningful effort has been made to support classes, teachers, educators, and parents through the teaching and learning process.

    Micro:bit makes many different approaches available to users and supports different levels of knowledge.

    To make many projects, only a few PINs, power, and GND are sufficient. As such, three large PINs, 0-3 V, and GND are always in evidence and easy to connect with alligator clips. 2xAAA batteries are sufficient to power the board and some external sensors or devices (the battery holder is included).

    The portal aims to be a comprehensive reference for the device, programming languages, online editor, and programmer, as well as a clearly explained teacher’s guide and a community for users and enthusiasts.

  2. Tomi Engdahl says:

    BBC Micro:Bit connected to LoRaWAN network

    The BBC Micro:Bit is an IOT microprocessor board based on the Nordic Semiconductor NRF51822 chip with an ARM Cortex M0 processor and bluetooth. For this project it was decided to program the board using the micropython development environment.

    The LoRaWAN radio module used to connect to the TTN is the RN2483 from Microchip. This module connects to the Micro:Bit over a serial interface. A microcontroller integral to the RN2483 take care of all the processing for the radio and supports the LoRaWAN protocol layers. In this build the RN2483 module is mounted on a breakout board from Azzy’s Electronics Store on Tindie.

    The Radio module is powered from the Micro:Bit using either USB or battery. Three data lines between the Micro:Bit and radio module carry a hardware reset line and serial transmit and receive data.

    The python code initializes the radio over the serial connection and sends data packets over the radio channel. The antenna for the 868 MHz radio in this case is a short piece of wire of the correct length (82mm).

    The Things Network (TTN) comprises a number of internet connected LoRaWAN gateways deployed by enthusiastic supporters in a growing number of areas around the world. If you don’t already have local coverage, then you can deploy your own gateway and connect it to TTN. While gateways are expensive at around $500 each, many local funding opportunities exist, and exploiting these makes the IOT opportunities more visible and pertinent to the local community.

  3. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Germans React to UK’s micro:bit

    Getting kids interested in programming is all the rage right now, and the UK is certainly taking pole position with its BBC micro:bit, just recently distributed to every seventh-grader in the land. Germany, proud of its education system and technological prowess, is caught playing catch-up. Until now.

    The Calliope Mini is essentially a micro:bit clone, but one that has learned from the experience of its spiritual forefather — the connection points are spread around the outside of the board where the crocodile clips won’t accidentally touch each other.

    Not content to simply copy, the Calliope also adds additional functionality. A microphone and speaker are integrated onboard, as is a Grove-style I2C connector. They’ve even added a TI DRV8837 H-bridge motor driver, so students could make a rolling robot straight out of the box.

    But the real secret ingredient here is piggy-backing on the existing BBC micro:bit codebase and infrastructure.

    We’re left wondering if the micro:bit platform will become as important as the Arduino has. If Calliope gets adopted wide-scale in Germany, that would be a harbinger. Having two countries’ kids all familiar with the same platform will certainly give it a boost.
    … But not Open Hardware

    But why aren’t the designs for either the micro:bit or the Calliope open-sourced? There’s not enough going on that it would take an average hacker more than an afternoon to reverse engineer either of the boards, so there’s little to gain by not opening up to the community.

  4. Tomi Engdahl says:

    BBC Micro:bit is piloted Espoo

    Supporting schoolchildren digital teaching the BBC Micro: bit PC card will be piloted in Espoo, Finland. The project is supported by the BBC Micro: bit Foundation leader Zach Shelby in addition to Etteplan’s IoT, Vice President of Jaakko Ala-Paavola and educational organization Mehackit.

    Great Britain has been since March 2016, divided into about a million persons studying in the seventh grade schoolchildren BBC Micro: bit computer board. Now supporting educational projects in British Foundation will help the Finnish secondary schools with Mehackit-company training.

    “It’s been amazing to see the enthusiasm of the students’ and teachers’ ‘, Ala-Paavola says. He believes that the platform enables the programming interface for other subjects teaching.


  5. Tomi Engdahl says:

    One Micro Bit Accomplishes Its Goal

    Like the Raspberry Pi, the BBC Micro Bit had a goal of being foremost an educational device. Such an inexpensive computer works well with the current trend of cutting public school budgets wherever possible while still being able to get kids interested in coding and computers in general. While both computers have been co-opted by hackers for all kinds of projects (the Pi especially), [David]’s latest build keeps at least his grandkids interested in computers by using the Micro Bit to add some cool features to an old toy.

    The toy in question is an old Scalextric slot car racetrack

    But what fun is a race if you can’t keep track of laps or lap times? With the BBC Mirco Bit and some hardware, the new-and-improved racetrack can do all of these things. It also implements a drag race-style light system to start the race and can tell if a car false starts.

    microbit Lap Counter For Scalextric Like Track

  6. Tomi Engdahl says:

    A simple robot based on the BBC micro:bit.

    As a part of the “microbit world tour” program, I’m putting the micro:bit on a robot. This is a very basic animal, assembled from junk I had lying around, held together with two-sided tape and hot glue. No soldering required, so any kid can try and build one like this.

  7. Tomi Engdahl says:

    A cheap breakout header for the Micro:bit

    Micro:bit is a nice little board, but to really get more of it, you need access to all those extra pins on the edge connector. There are breakout kits that let you do that, but they are too big to actually put in your project. I’m trying to make the simplest thing that could possibly work here.

  8. Tomi Engdahl says:

    The BBC’s card micro will come to Finnish schools

    British Broadcasting Corporation brainchild of a microprocessor card will be introduced dozens of new schools in Finland. A small processor card for use in teaching programming in 15 schools across the Finnish, autumn starting co-operation of schools will be 50 more.

    In Finland, University of Helsinki is involved through Innokas (Eager) Network. Co-operation means, among other things, large-scale experiments examining their functionality.

    University of Helsinki, Faculty of Education, Eager Network was selected Micro: bits partner for Finnish schools for the tip. With his enthusiasm has a strong network of interested of digital technology in educational use and development of teachers.

    ” Our pilots during the avid Network conducts research on how teachers and children work and what students ages Micro: bit is best suited for, ”

    Finnish curriculum of digital technology fits very well, but user-friendly for teachers teaching tools are missing. Therefore, often the enthusiasm fall apart easily. With simple tools, for example, students learn to program, build robots and create music.


  9. Tomi Engdahl says:

    BBC’s Micro:bit turns out to be an excellent drone hijacking tool
    Much love for tiny microcomputer

    DEF CON The BBC’s Micro:bit computer board may be winning over school kids, but hackers have found its wireless capabilities and programmable nature make it an excellent tool for mischief.

    In a presentation at this year’s DEF CON hacking conference in Las Vegas on Friday, Damien Cauquil, senior security researcher at Econocom Digital Security, showed how the pocket-sized microcomputer could be configured to sniff out keystrokes from a wireless keyboard, and even take control of a quadcopter drone with just some nifty programming.

    The Micro:bit, which costs just £12 in the UK or $15 in the US, is powered by a 16MHz 32-bit ARM Cortex-M0 CPU with 16KB of RAM and Bluetooth connectivity that, with a little Python coding, turns out to be an excellent wireless sniffer. To make matters better for hackers, it’s also tiny, and thus easy to hide while doing this job.

  10. Tomi Engdahl says:

    The main Espruino boards are Cortex M3 and M4 based, but I ported it to the BBC micro:bit a while back, and it runs pretty well on there.

    todbot micro:bit is NRF51822, correct?

    Gordon Williams It’s a bit constrained because after the Bluetooth stack you only have 6kB RAM for the interpreter, but it’s usable for simple stuff. The SAMD21 should be a lot better – it’s 256kB flash, 32kB RAM?

    Gordon Williams And yes, it is NRF51822 – and M0


  11. Tomi Engdahl says:

    micro:bit + Spotify

    The micro:bit has serial support, which is a fairly universal way for devices to talk to each other over the wire. This means one micro:bit will have to be connected to my computer the whole time, and it will be communicating (as a proxy) with both the computer (which controls Spotify) and the other micro:bit.

  12. Tomi Engdahl says:

    micro:bit Selfie Remote

    Use the micro:bit as a wireless Bluetooth remote for a smartphone’s camera

  13. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Exploring the BBC Micro:Bit Software Stack

    The BBC micro:bit has been with us for about eighteen months now, and while the little ARM-based board has made a name for itself in its intended market of education, we haven’t seen as much of it in our community as we might have expected.

    If you or a youngster in your life have a micro:bit, you may have created code for it using one of the several web-based IDEs, a graphical programming system, TypeScript, or MicroPython. But these high level languages are only part of the board’s software stack, as [Matt Warren] shows us with his detailed examination of its various layers.

    The top layer of the micro:bit sandwich is of course your code. This is turned into a hex file by the web-based IDE’s compiler, which you then place on your device. Interestingly only the Microsoft TypeScript IDE compiles the TypeScript into native code, while the others bundle your code up with an interpreter.

    Exploring the BBC micro:bit Software Stack

  14. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Program your Sino:bit with Arduino!

    The sino:bit a single-board microcontroller designed for computer education in China. It is based on the Calliope miniwith permission of the Calliope mini project. While several modifications are planned, the first was to upgrade the LED matrix from 5×5 to 12×12. This allows for support of Chinese, Japanese, Hindi, Arabic and other non-Latin character based languages. Without this, the vast majority of the World’s children cannot experience the thrill of that first “Hello World” in their own language.

  15. Tomi Engdahl says:

    NO Fuss Micro:bit Temperature Monitor

    Using the Micro:bit & xCHIPs assembly of this temperature monitor is effortless. Coding is a piece of cake with the blocks software too!

  16. Tomi Engdahl says:

    BBC’s Raspberry Pi Zero rival heads to Canada in 100,000 bulk order

    Canada looks to spark interest in computer science with the help of the BBC’s micro:bit development board.

  17. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Battery Backpacks for the Micro:bit

    While the Arduino has shields, the Raspberry Pi has its HATs, the Raspberry Pi Zero has pHATs, usually better known as “Bonnets,” and the BeagleBone has Capes, there really isn’t a standard name for Micro:bit expansion boards. But pretty much all of the boards connect via the Micro:bit’s 80-way edge connector and overall it’s all just a bit clumsier looking than other platforms.

  18. Tomi Engdahl says:


    A turbo-pack for your micro:bit that streamlines your exploration of physical computing.

    The bit:booster is designed for makers with a compact form factor designed for rapid prototyping with any of your favorite building materials:

    Looking to explore Robotics? – You can control servo motors, DC motors (including Lego NXT, RCX and EV3) with ease.

    Sensors made easy – Two grove connectors make it easy to use hundreds of standard sensors.

    Bring your Lego to life– The board is spaced for LEGO and can be easily incorporated into your LEGO creations.

    Connections made easy – Connect to the bit:booster using standard connectors such as Grove ports, Jumpers, alligator clips, wires and probes, or get creative and use copper tape with LEGO, pipe cleaners or any conductive material you find lying around.

    Simple Power – Don’t worry about power since the bit:booster provides separate power for both the micro:bit and your connections: all without dangling battery packs.

  19. Tomi Engdahl says:

    The MINI.MU Is an Awesome Musical Glove Your Kids Can Make Themselves

    MINI.MU was designed by MI.MU, Imogen Heap (formerly of British electronic duo Frou Frou), maker and children’s author Helen Leigh, and Pimoroni. MI.MU specializes in sensor-packed wearables, and gloves in particular, so MINI.MU is the perfect extension of that technology. Each £39.95 kit includes a BBC micro:bit, screen-printed felt, a MINI.MU sewable speaker, and everything else your kid will need to build the musical glove.

    Once they’ve made their MINI.MU, your child will be able to code and play 8-bit synthetic music with their new instrumental glove.

  20. Tomi Engdahl says:


    An affordable STEM robot kit powered by Micro:bit to inspire children’s creativity

  21. Tomi Engdahl says:

    PLEN:bit Is a Cute Little Bipedal Robot Built on the Educational BBC micro:bit

    A good educational robot needs to be two things: simple enough that anyone can build it, and fun enough that they’ll want to. The new PLEN:bit bipedal robot fits that philosophy perfectly, and just launched on Kickstarter.

  22. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Voice Controlled Robot Car

    I made voice controlled robot car using Amazon Alexa, Node-RED and micro:bit

  23. Tomi Engdahl says:

    DIY Low-Cost VR Headset Uses a Pair of Micro:bits for Tracking

    There are ‘alternatives’ to those pricey HMDs, such as the DIY route, which is what Colin Ord did with his 3D Virtual Reality headgear that sports the all familiar cardboard housing similar to Google Cardboard.

    The secret behind Colin’s HMD is a pair of BBC Micro:bit boards, which come packed with an accelerometer and onboard compass — two critical components needed for situational tracking. One of the microcontrollers is tasked for 3D head orientation (heading, pitch, and bank), while the other acts as a 2D VR hand-controller that’s used to manipulate objects in a virtual environment.

  24. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Getting started with the BBC Microbit
    Tiny open hardware board makes it easy for anyone to learn to code with fun projects.

  25. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Visualize Data in Excel with micro:bit and MakeCode
    Use the MakeCode platform to write a simple program that sends micro:bit (accelerometer) data directly into Excel!

    This tutorial will teach you how to use the MakeCode platform to write a simple program that sends live data from the BBC micro:bit to Microsoft Excel using the Data Streamer add-in.

    The example program we use in this tutorial prints the micro:bit accelerometer data into Excel. You can modify and adapt the basic program to work with other micro:bit sensors or external sensors.

    The serial port on your computer is how Excel’s Data Streamer add-in gathers data from external devices.

    1. Plug in your micro:bit and go to the MakeCode website.

    2. Select the “micro:bit” option and create a new file. This will take you to the MakeCode block interface.

    3. Download the HackingSTEM Data Streamer add-in.

    Go to Extensions, located at the bottom of the code blocks, and search for “Data Streamer”. Click on the HackingSTEM Data Streamer add-in to enable it.

    4. Back in the Block section of MakeCode, locate and open the yellow/orange “Data Streamer” blocks in the top section.

    5. Set the Baud Rate by dragging the “Set Baud Rate” block into “On Start”. Use the default setting (9600).

    6. Next, print data to serial with the “write number array” block. Drag this into the “forever” block.

    7. In the “array of” slots, insert the data you want to print to serial. For this example, we are printing the micro:bit accelerometer x, y, and z values.

    8. Print a new line after the array to denote the end of the data packet in Data Streamer. Do this by dragging the “write line” block from the Data Streamer section.

    Data Streamer
    Bring real-time data in and out of Excel

    Modernize your classroom with live data to transform how students model modern scientific and engineering practices.

    Data Streamer provides students with a simple way to bring data from the physical world in and out of Excel’s powerful digital canvas. With a sensor connected to a microcontroller that is attached to Excel, begin introducing students to the emerging worlds of data science and the internet of things.

    Data Streamer is available for free to all O365 subscribers.

  26. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Our Micro:bit robot is coming along – Alex has decided to model V1 after a lesser demon, because it’s cute. (No, really!) Prince Stolas uses a Kitronik Servo:Lite board, sold by Pimoroni, and also serves as a cool Second Halloween decoration. ;)


  27. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Giles Booth Turns a BBC micro:bit Into a Four-Instruction, Five-Bit Educational CPU

    Considerably less powerful than the BBC micro:bit itself, Booth’s five-bit CPU is designed for educational use — and could be upgraded soon.

  28. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Brown Dog Gadgets’ Bit Board allows users to integrate a micro:bit with LEGO blocks to create any number of unique projects.

    Brown Dog Gadgets’ Bit Board Connects Micro:bit to Your LEGO Creations

    The Bit Board allows users to integrate the development board with LEGO blocks to create any number of unique projects.

  29. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Meet the new micro:bit! The upgraded version features a Nordic Semiconductor ASA nRF52833 SoC and adds an on-board microphone and speaker among other improvements.

    Educational Micro:bit Gets an Overhaul with Speaker, Microphone, New SoC, and More

    More powerful SoC, new audio capabilities, more secure edge connector, and even a hidden touch-sensitive input button — at the same price.

    The Micro:bit Educational Foundation has officially launched an upgraded version of its eponymous educational-centric development board, moving to the Nordic nRF52833 system-on-chip and adding an on-board microphone and speaker among other improvements.

    Launched back in 2015, the micro:bit was a partnership with UK broadcaster the BBC to encourage computational education in schools by providing a robust all-in-one microcontroller-based development platform suitable for early years use upwards.

  30. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Play Pong in p5.js using your micro:bit!

    Connect the micro:bit to Play Pong in P5.js

    This project will show how to connect a micro:bit to P5, to use it as a game-controller, or use your laptop or Android phone as a remote.

  31. Tomi Engdahl says:

    BBC Micro:bit + WiFi + Phone Notifications

    In this project we show how to connect BBC micro:bit to WiFi and send a phone notification over the Internet without coding!

  32. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Seluxit’s Wappsto:bit Family Brings the Internet of Things to the BBC micro:bit — Thanks to an ESP32
    Available as a carrier board or standalone development board, the Wappsto:bit adds Wi-Fi plus optional NB-IoT and GPS connectivity.


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